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Stocks Close Lower After Wacky Day on Wall Street

The stock market's roller coaster ride continued on Tuesday.
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The stock market's roller coaster ride continued on Tuesday when the Dow industrials closed lower after moving over 705 points in one session.

The Benchmark index started the trading day down 99 points, then rose 347 points to the high of the session (247 points) before midday. It closed down 112 points to end at the day's low. Investors' focus was whipped from falling oil prices to the Russian ruble's collapse to uncertainty about what the Federal Reserve will do next about interest rates.

After falling to lows not seen since the spring of 2009, crude futures for January delivery on Tuesday fell to a low of $53.60 a barrel, then shot up $1.24 to a high of $57.15 a barrel, and closed at $55.93, up two cents and halting a four-day loss streak.

Wall Street hears from the Fed on Wednesday, with the central bank gathering to consider the timing and size of interest-rate hikes and whether to reiterate its vow to maintain rates low for a considerable period.

"It's becoming clearer and clearer to them that they are way behind schedule. Every central bank wants to engineer a soft landing, but we're at 30,000 feet and a mile away from the runway," said David Kelly, chief market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds.

The S&P 500 shed 16.88 points, or 0.85 percent, to 1,972.75. The Nasdaq declined 57.32 points, or 1.2 percent, to 4,547.83.

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— NBC News Staff and CNBC